Always keen on exploring new places, I jumped at the chance to spend a full day wandering through Lanark County. And bonus: this has been made so much easier with the newly launched Sip & Savour Trail, an interactive map highlighting all of the must-see’s in Almonte, Smiths Falls, and everywhere in between. With a heavy focus on food and drink, there was no need to pack snacks for along the way, and we made sure to stop at some of the non-foodie unique attractions showcased on the trail as well. With over 30 stops, we couldn’t see everything, but here’s a little insider scoop on the route that I was able to plan. And p.s. I recommend every single one of them.
#butfirstcoffee am I right? There was no better way to start the day than at the original Equator Coffee in Almonte. This location, with friendly small-town staff and plenty of space, including lots of cozy little nooks, is actually combined into a cafe, roastery and training centre. We tried the nitro cold brew (a rising trend on the coffee scene, it’s like the Guinness of coffee, coming straight from the tap and infused with nitrogen to give it that rich creamy head) for a kickstart to the rest of our visit on the Sip & Savour Trail. It wasn’t time to leave Almonte just yet though – we simply weren’t ready without first meandering through contemporary local art gallery, Sivalrurasa, which is filled with strictly Canadian works (owner and director Sanjeev Sivalrurasa also represents the artists), including a few from the Almonte area, as well as some of Sanjeev’s himself. Before heading off to Lanark, we quickly popped into Peches & Poivres (translation: from sweet to savoury), where for the past seven years, Lise and Sandra have been trying to, “keep things as close to home as possible” selling artisanal cheeses, spreads, and a mish mash of other neat home decor items.
For the most authentic, pure and true Canadian experience, we had to check out a stop that you can find under the Maple category on the Sip & Savour Trail map. And although I wouldn’t normally associate maple with this time of year, Wheelers Pancake House, Sugar Camp & Museum is open all year round (every day but Christmas). We stopped here for a traditional sugar shack brunch (think pancakes, french toast, and homemade maple sausages), with all of the maple syrup made onsite by the Wheeler family. And we certainly couldn’t leave without picking up some treats on the way out. Oh, and all of their maple products are certified organic.
Winding our way through the back roads to Perth brought us first to Fall River & Co., a women’s clothing store filled with fashionable items from designers like Joseph Ribkoff and brand names like Tribal Jeans. But wander through this 7,000 sq.ft eclectic shop and you’ll also find the best homemade fudge around. With flavors like Maple Nut, Chocolate Walnut and Chewy Praline, we couldn’t go wrong when choosing what to bring home. And even though we were still full from our pancake brunch, we were told there was no way we could pass up a quick stop at Perth Chocolate Works. Located on the main floor of the historic Code’s Mill building (which is completely insta-worthy in and of itself), this is the spot for an iced hot chocolate – light, fluffy, and decadently delicious. As a little pick me up for our last leg of the Sip & Savor Trail, we chose a few chocolates to go (they have fun flavors like salted caramel, buttercrunch, and margarita), and it was on to the next stop.
After decades of prohibition, the federal government legalized the use of cannabis in October 2018. And just like a brewery or distillery, you can take a tour of the place where high-quality cannabis has been produced since 2014. We stopped into the Visitor’s Centre at Tweed where tours are free and offered until 6 p.m. This spot features ultra-informative tour guides, an insider’s look at how the entire complex process of cannabis growth has been perfected, and an up close and personal interactive way to learn all about the facility and the plant. On top of all that, the team there welcomed us with open arms to stop in and say hi, answer any and all of our questions, and gave us a bit more information to help understand and appreciate this new and innovative industry.
With over 30 businesses in categories like Craft Brews & Booze, Maple, and Speciality Shops, there really is something for everyone. So start planning, because there is tons to see and do, sip and savour and it’s all laid out perfectly for you on this new interactive map, making planning the perfect day trip simple. Next on my list has got to be heading to Carleton Place – from what I’ve heard, Black Tartan Kitchen is a mouth-watering must-visit, and the outdoor patio at Braumeister Brewing Co. is the perfect spot to spend a sunny afternoon.